- Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616145897
- ISBN-13: 978-1616145897
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet
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"Destination Mars brings to life an extraordinary part of human exploration—the preliminary reconnaissance of the planet of dreams over the last fifty years. Enlivened by interviews with many of the participants, Destination Mars makes you feel as if you are exploring the planet with them."
-Steven J. Dick, Former NASA chief historian
"The enigmatic Red Planet does not easily give up its secrets. Yet Destination Mars takes the reader on a first-class journey to this new world, one that continues to be a magnet for inquisitive scientists and space engineers. This is a superb, fact-filled, up-to-date book that portrays the legacy of spacecraft and personalities—from cheerleaders to unsung heroes—that have opened up the terra incognito that is Mars to extraordinary exploration."
-Leonard David, Space Insider columnist, SPACE.com
"Mars has long held a special fascination for Americans, perhaps it might even be a planet that harbors life. Rod Pyle has written a fine account of this fascination, outlining the history of the robotic space probes sent to the Red Planet and the knowledge gained through these expeditions."
-Roger D. Launius, Senior curator, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
"[A]n optimistic, enthusiastic survey of humanity’s ongoing duel of wits with our neighbor planet. Interviews with some of the people involved in Mars missions show the thread of curiosity and wonder connecting the Mars exploration projects of the last fifty years. Getting to Mars has been really difficult, but for Rod Pyle the problems just make it more interesting and worthwhile."
-Stephen Fentress, Director, Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum & Science Center
About the Author
Rod Pyle is the author of the widely praised books Destination Moon and Missions to the Moon, as well as the popular audiobook In Their Own Words: The Space Race. He has written and produced numerous documentaries for the History Channel and Discovery Communications, including the acclaimed Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 and Mars: 100 Years of Discovery. Pyle has been an assistant professor at the University of La Verne, California, and frequently lectures at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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According to Pyle, "Exploring Mars is a bit like doing brain surgery through a mile-long soda straw. At an average distance of fifty million miles from Earth, with a one-way radio message time of twelve to twenty minutes, roving the dry, treacherous surface requires the utmost in planning and careful execution. One false move can end a mission in seconds, and there are rarely many options to correct a mistake. That is why the people who dare seek the truth about Mars are so remarkable. This is the story of human striving, from early times through tomorrow, to discover what makes Mars tick."
Pyle's well-researched book begins with a short history of our beliefs about various forms of life on Mars, including artificially-built canals, intelligent Martians, and the wide variety of science fiction writings by authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.G. Wells. From there, he delves into the many missions to Mars, beginning with Mariner 4 in the 1960s, and ends with a fascinating but fairly plausible scenario about a human-crewed mission to Mars in 2029. He intersperses each of those highly informative and well-titled chapters with information about the men and women responsible for those missions and their human striving to discover what makes the planet tick. According to the author, the whole theme of the Mars exploration program is to "follow the water and to understand the possibility of life on Mars."
To a non-scientific but inquisitive person like myself, Destination Mars is a highly readable and excellent book. Buy it and read it. You won't be sorry.
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